BASIC (11-02)

SI 02009.025 Effect of Status Change - Eligible Individual to Eligible Couple or Vice Versa

A. Policy – general

A status change occurs when an eligible individual be­comes a member of an eligible couple or when a member of an eligible couple becomes an eligible individual without an eligible spouse.

B. Policy-- status changing events

Examples of couple status-changing events include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Death of one member of an eligible couple, the surviving member's payments, if any, are comput­ed as an eligible individual effective the month af­ter the death. The computation for the short quarter of death includes the income actually re­ceived by the deceased before death.

  2. Suspension or termination of one member of an eligible couple due to:

    • Absence from the U.S

    • Loss of U.S. Citizenship/ alien status

    • Failure to Apply for other benefits

    • Inmate status in a public institution

    • Failure to apply for other benefits

    • Cessation of blindness or disability

    • Refusal to accept offered vocational rehabilitation services

    • Failure to accept required treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism

    • Failure to confirm eligibility

    • Voluntary termination

    • Suspension for a period of 12 consecutive Calendar months. (See SI 02301.205.)

    The member of the couple who retains eligibili­ty is considered an eligible individual with an ineligible spouse effective with the month the spouse is ineligible. Administrative stop pay­ment situations (SI 02301.201) are not couple sta­tus changes.

  3. A member of an eligible couple becomes an eligible individual without an eligible spouse due to:

    • Divorce

    • Annulment

    • One member of the couple is in LA "D" throughout a month (see SI 02009.035)

    • Their having lived apart for 6 full months

  4. Marriage (or 'holding out") of two eligible individuals. (Computation of payments as an eligi­ble couple is effective the month after the month of marriage (see SI 02009.025D.4.))

  5. Resumption of living together by a married couple both of who were considered eligible individuals the month they resumed living together. (Computa­tion of payments as an eligible couple is effective the month after they resume living together.)

  6. Establishment of eligibility by the ineligible spouse with whom the eligible individual lives or from whom there has been separation for less than 6 months. (Computation of payments as an eligible couple is effective the month the ineligible spouse becomes eligible.) (See SI 02009.025D.6 and note SI 02001.005 B.)

  7. One member of a couple is subject to a monthly FBR of $25 after September 1976. (See SI 02009.035.)

C. Procedure -- computational

When a couple status-change is effective in the second or third month of a quarter, the quarter is broken into computational periods for the specific status. These com­putational periods may be referred to as "short quarters." The actual income received within the computational pe­riod (short quarter) is used in computing the SSI payment for the period. In like manner, the income exclusion (gen­eral and earned income) is proportioned in accordance with the number of months in the computational period. The steps in computing the payments are:

  1. Determine the FBR (also including any State supplementation) for the status of the individual or couple for each short quarter.

  2. Determine the countable income, if any, for each short quarter and subtract the total countable in­come for each period from the FBR (and any State supplement).

  3. The results are the payment amount(s) for each short quarter. If the computational period is 2 months, divide by 2 to find the amount for each month. If the status for the period is that of an eligi­ble couple, the monthly amount due is divided by 2 to find the amount due each member of the couple, unless the computation procedure in SI 02009.015 is applicable within the period. In like manner, it is then necessary to repeat the process described in SI 02009.025C. (steps l, 2, and 3.) for the short quarter remaining.

D. Examples

1. Death of One Member of an Eligible Couple - (Example 1)

Jack and Joan Hawkins are an eligible couple living in their own household. On July 5, 1981, they report that Jack will no longer be working and that his total earnings for July are $150. The couple's only other income is a trust fund payment of $360 that Joan receives in the last month of each quarter. On July 30 Joan calls to report Jack's death. She says she will remain in the house by her­self. Computation for the third quarter of 1981 is as follows:

Original Couple Quarterly Computation

$1191.00

Quarterly FBR

$ 300.00

Countable income ($150.00 earned income - $195.00 = 0 earned income; $360.00 trust fund payment - $60.00 = $300.00 unearned income)

$891.00

Quarterly payment amount

$297.00

Monthly payment amount to the couple

$148.50

Monthly payment amount to each member

Revised Computation Couple Status-Short Quarter of July

$397.00

FBR for short quarter of couple status

$ 32.50

Countable income ($150.00 -$20 general exclusion = $130; $130- $65 earned income exclusion = $65; $65.00/ 2 = $32.50 earned income; 0 unearned income)

$364.50

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$182.25

Monthly payment amount to each member for July

Individual Status-Short Quarter of August /September

$529.40

FBR for short quarter Joan lives in own household

$ 320.00

Countable income ($360.00 - $40.00 general exclusion = $320.00)

  

$209.40

Short quarter payment amount

$104.70

Monthly payment amount for August and September

Had Joan moved in with her sister on August 6, 1981, and not contributed to the household expenses, the computa­tions for the third quarter of 1979 would be the same as above except for the short quarter of August/September when her payments were computed on the basis of her living in her own household. The computation under the al­tered circumstances would be:

Month

August

September

FBR

$264.700

$176.470

Countable income *

$214.115

$214.115

Monthly payment amount

$ 50.585

$ 0.000

(Rounded to)

$ 50.59

 

* ($360.00 + $108.23 = $468.23 - $40.00 = $428.23/2 = $214.115)

If instead of moving in with her sister on August 6, she had moved on July 20, the computations for the third quarter would have been:

Couple Status-Short Quarter of July

$397.00

FBR for short quarter of couple status

$ 98.66

Countable income ($150.00 - $65.00 = $85.00/ 2 = $42.50 earned income; $76.16-$20.00 = $56.16 unearned income)

$298.34

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$149.17

Monthly payment amount to each member for July

Individual Status-Short Quarter o f August /September

$352.94

FBR for short quarter Joan lives in household of another

$320.00

Countable income ($360.00 - $40.00 = $320.00)

  

$ 32.94

Short quarter payment amount

$ 16.47

Monthly payment amount for August and September

2. Suspension or Termination of One Member of an Eligible Couple - (Example 2)

Bill and Beth Milligan, an eligible aged couple, live in their own household. The couple has income in the third quarter of 1981 represented by Bill's $100 per month VA pension (which is not subject to the general exclusion per SI 00830.302) and $95 in wages that Beth earns the first month of each quarter.

On July 23, 1981, Bill enters the VA hospital. He returns home on September 10, 1981. He is ineligible for SSI in August since he is an inmate of a public institution. The computation for the third quar­ter is as follows:

September

$176.70

$214.115

$ 0.000

Couple Status-Short Quarter of July

$397.00

FBR for short quarter of couple status

$105.00

Countable income ($100.00 unearned income; $95.00 - $20.00 = $75.00 - $65.00 = $10.00/2=$5.00 earned income)

$292.00

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$146.00

Monthly payment amount to each member for July

Individual Status-Short Quarter of August

Bill:    Ineligible since be is in a public institution through­out the month.

Beth:    $264.70 individual monthly FBR; Beth has no countable income.

Couple Status-Short Quarter of September

$397.00

FBR for month of couple status

$100.00

Countable income ($100.00 unearned income)

$297.00

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$148.50

Monthly payment amount to each member for September

3. One or Both Members of an Eligible Couple Become(s) an Eligible Individual without an Eligible Spouse - (Example 3)

Andy and Maxine Johnson, an aged couple, live in their own household. Andy receives a VA pension benefit of $200.00 per month. Maxine has no income. On February 20, 1981, Andy moves out to an apartment in town. The computation of benefits for the third quarter of 1981 (the quarter when their status changes) is as follows:

Couple Status-Short Quarter of July /August 1981

$794.00

FBR for short quarter of couple status

$400.00

Countable income (2 x $200.00 = $400.00)

$394.00

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$197.00

Short quarter payment amount to each member

$ 98.50

Monthly payment amount to each member for July and August

Individual Status-Short Quarter of September 1981

Maxine:

$264.70

Individual monthly payment Amount, Maxine has no countable income

Andy:

$264.70

FBR for month of individual status

 

$200.00

Countable income

 

$ 64.70

Monthly payment amount

4. Marriage (or "Holding Out") of Two Eligible Individuals - (Example 4) -

Diana Conatser, an eligible individual living in her own household, receives monthly SSI benefits of $64.70. She also receives social security benefits of $220 per month. Terry Hendricks is receiving monthly SSI of $54.70 and social security benefits of $230. On October I, 1981, they are married. Computation for the fourth quarter of 1981 is as follows:

Individual Status-Short Quarter of October 1981

Diana and Terry are each eligible individuals for the month of their marriage. There is no change in their SSI benefit amounts of $64.70 and $54.70, respectively.

Couple Status-Short Quarter of November/December 1981

$794.00

FBR for short quarter of couple status

$860.00

Countable income (2 x $220.00 = $440.00 plus 2 x $230.00 = $460.00; $900.00 - $40.00 = $860.00)

$ 0.00

Payment to the couple

5. Resumption of Living Together by Married Couple, Af­ter Expiration of 6-Month Separation - (Example 5)

Ethel and Ed Erdman, a married couple, have been living apart for the past year. Ethel had been living with her niece and subject to the one-third reduction. She received $56.47 a month SSI benefit and $140 in social security benefits. Ed lived in his own household, receiving $134.70 monthly SSI benefit and $150 in social security benefits. On August 10, 1981, Ethel returns to the couple's home. The computation for the third quarter of 1981 would be:

Individual Status-Short Quarter of July/August 1981

Ethel and Ed are eligible individuals prior to the month they resume living together and in the month of change. There is no change in their SSI payment amounts of $56.47 and $134.70, respectively. They are not considered a couple for SSI payment purposes until the month after they resume living together. It is as if they had remarried in August.

Couple Status-Short Quarter of September 1981

$397.00

FBR for the month of couple status

$270.00

Countable income ($140.00 + $150.00 = $290.00 - $20.00 = $270.00 unearned income)

$127.00

Short quarter payment amount to the couple

$ 63.50

Monthly payment amount to each member

The computation for the couple for the fourth quarter would be:

$1191.00

Couple quarterly FBR

$ 810.00

Countable income (3 x $140.00 = $420.00 plus 3 x $150.00 = $450.00; $870.00 - $60.00 = $810.00)

$ 381.00

Quarterly payment amount to the couple

$ 127.00

Monthly payment amount to the couple

$ 63.50

Monthly payment amount to each member

If on November 20, 1981 Ethel again moved out, but this time to her own household, the computations above would be the same until the expiration of 6 months of separation when Ed and Ethel would again be treated as individuals. If, however, on November 20, 1981 Ethel were to return to her niece's and not contribute to house­hold expenses, the computation for the quarter would fol­low the rules in 51 02002.030, (one member of an eligible couple in the household of another and the other member in his/h